Frequently asked questions
How much do you get from the government’s solar panel rebate?
The Federal Government have a program called Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) to help with the purchase cost of Solar and eligible hot water system for households and small businesses across Australia.
It does this through the creation of small-scale technology certificates (STCs) which Renewable Energy Target liable entities have a legal obligation to buy and surrender to the Clean Energy Regulator on a quarterly basis.Small-scale technology certificates are provided 'upfront' for the systems' expected power generation over a 15 year period or from the installation year until 2030 when the scheme ends.
A typical household system receives around 100 STCs, at a spot price of $38.00 during the time this is written, equal to a $3800.00 reduction of your system purchase price which is around 50% saving.
In addition in VIC, The Solar Panel Rebate program reopened on 1 July 2019. There will be additional assistance offered including no-interest loans to complement the rebate, as well as solar panels for rental properties and solar battery rebates. The program provides eligible Victorian households with a rebate of up to 50% of the purchase cost to install solar PV panels. The rebate is up to $2225, currently around half the value of an average 4kW solar panel system.
How much roof space is required?
Each property is different, it depends on the direction the roof is facing to give you the best performance out of the system. And it needs to avoid other objects which create shading on the roof like tree or chimney.
In general, a solar panel is 1 x 1.6m to 1 x 2m in size. We custom design the system base on your property and decide what size panel will best fit the roof space and your usage. And sometimes bigger doesn't mean better. The bigger the panel is, the more expensive it will be.
The power generated per panel range from 300 - 400 kW depending on the type and size. Typically, a 6.6kW system will need around 20 panels.
Who does the electrical hook-up to the grid?
We do all the work beside change the meter. With the NSW upgrade of meters currently underway, most meters are solar compatible. For those who don’t have a solar-compatible meter, all you have to do is ring up your electricity provider and ask them to replace your meter which is a free service if it’s a standard change over. We can also assist in filling the paperwork if need be.
Does the price quoted include all the necessary metering changes and paperwork for my local electricity supplier?
Yes, that's included in our quote.
How will I know if my system is performing to its maximum potential on a day-to-day basis?
Depending on the inverter that is mounted adjacent to your switchboard, some will display all this information on an LCD screen. A WiFi-enabled inverter can be connected to the internet and display performance information onto your smartphone or PC.
What is the deal with guarantees/warranties?
There are three layers of warranties, and please do not be mislead by the tricky salesman.
First and foremost, an installed solar system covered under home building laws and protected by the Home Building Act 1989. We offer a 5-years workmanship warranty for the installation for places we touched during the installation process.
Then we have the product warranty for the inverter. It's called Limited Manufacturer's warranty for the inverter. This warranty varies from 5 to 10 years, depending on the brand and it's standing offer. With some brand, you can purchase an optional extended warranty to extend it from 5 to 10 years. For this warranty to be valid, you will need to register your inverter with the manufacturer via mail or online at the time of installation. Within the warranty period, if the inverter plays up, you can call the manufacturer, and they will send their electrician to help you resolve or replace the inverter.
Lastly, there are warranty and guarantee for the solar panels. Most of the reputable solar panel sold in Australia have a 10 or more years Limited Product Warranty. As long as you have the proof of purchase for your solar system installation, you can contact the manufacturer for warranty claim.
Most of the panel also comes with a 25 years performance warranty; this is a guarantee of the panel's rate of degradation over time. Usually, within the 25 years, the efficiency will maintain above 80% of the initial power generation.
You will also have consumer right cover under the Australian Consumer Law for consumer guarantees for product and service you purchased. We will be happy to help you with any warranty issue or claims for the solar system we sold.
Can I add solar panels/increase system size later?
No. Due to CEC installation standard guideline, to add additional panels to an existing system requires the existing system to be updated to the latest standard. Older panels have lower efficiency rating.
Usually, it will be more economical to add a whole new system alongside the existing system provided that you have enough roof space for new panels. Another option is to replace the old system with a new larger system if your roof space is limited.
What size system do I need?
The best way to answer this is to speak to a 100 PowerLink consultant. They will work out your energy consumption and your useable roof space to advise you of the best size system for you and your budget.
My roof is flat. Can I still install a solar system?
Solar panels work perfectly fine when laid flat, in fact in the summer months they work better in the flat position.
Who will install my solar system?
We have in house CEC Accredited solar installers that have ten or more years experiences. We pride ourselves on workmanship and offer a 5-year warranty on the workmanship. We understand your business and home is your most valuable procession, and security is also paramount. That is why we vent our hire with an extensive background check before we employ them and most of them have been with us for a long time, so you can be sure we are trustworthy to deal with.
How do I get the government rebate?
We will handle the applicationa of the Small Technology Certificate (STC) and the conersion so you only pay the difference. In most cases, the rebate is already calculated into the price quoted unless you want to claim it yourself.
What is the difference between a gross and a net feed-in tariff?
A Gross feed-in tariff is when all energy generated is fed back into the grid, and you receive money for it. Net metering is when the energy you generate is used in your household, and only the excess is fed back into the grid. Generally speaking, net metering is the most economical setup.
How does solar power work?
In a nutshell, solar Panels on the roof generate DC power from the sun. An inverter then converts the DC power into AC power which can then be used in your household. A meter installed then measures the energy used in your household and the energy used from the grid and the saving is recorded on your next electricity bill.
How does solar credits subsidy work?
The Solar Credits Subsidy is primarily based on Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as small-scale technology certificates (STCs). Despite often being referred to as a “solar rebate”, the Solar Credits Subsidy is structured differently than other financial incentives in the solar industry. The financial benefit generated from these certificates is included in the advertised solar package costs and offered as a point of sale discount. Ultimately, this saves you the hassle of having to post-purchase the certificates, and also reduces the initial capital outlay.
What is a grid connected solar system?
Grid-connected solar panel systems are connected to the electricity supply grid. An inverter converts DC low voltage power generated by the solar panels to 240V AC household supply. The smart meter records and manages how much electricity is drawn from or fed back into the grid. When excess solar-generated electricity is fed into the grid, the meter records it, so the household gets pay for the feed-in electricity their solar panel generated and only pay for what was drawn from the network.
How long does an average installation take?
It's hard to say about average installation time without knowing the size of solar system they type of roof and the environment. Bigger the system, longer the time it require to be installed. A typical 5kw system takes around 1 day, start to finish.
Do solar panels work in a blackout?
If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and electricity utility repair-people from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, there are certain off-grid or hybrid inverters and batteries you can purchase that provide backup power in a blackout.
How do I check the performance of my solar system?
It’s easy to check your solar power system at any time. The majority of inverters offer a built in display that gives you a live data feed of how much power your system is generating. Most systems will give you historical data showing how your system has been performing over time.. If your solar inverter is wi-fi ready you can see your performance through web application on your mobile.
How do I find out the rate I am paying for my electricity?
The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity (and how much electricity you use per month) is to take a look at your utility electricity bill. Alternatively you can sent us a copy of your electricity bill and we can do the analysis for you.
Are solar panels worth the cost in 2020?
With more and more people working from home across Australia, households are rushing to install solar power to reduce their power bills, especially now that solar panel prices in Australia are at a record low.
Now that good quality solar panel prices are at a record low. Assuming you use half of the electricity generated and export back to the grid the other half, your solar system will generally pay for itself from the saving of your electricity bill within three years.
That is an annual return on investment of about 33%. Over a 10-year period, if you put the same amount in a term-deposit account with 5% per annum interest, compound monthly, you will have 1.647 times of the original amount. Spend the same amount on a quality solar system, at the end of its potential lifetime of 10 year period, you would have saved from your electricity bill approx. 3.300 times of the original amount.
Is my home suitable for solar power?
Our team has access to detailed aerial shoots on the computer to help accurately measure how many solar panels will fit on your roof. Our 3D rendering software also be able to reconstruct any shading in the area and other obstacles that might affect the solar generation. A site visit may also be required to confirm the measurements and clarify your roof’s orientation and any shading issues.
If your roof looks suitable for solar power, we can help you size up a solar array, recommend brands and the type of system best suited to your house (string vs micro inverters), provide a firm price for the installation and book you in for an installation date.
If your property is not suitable for solar due to shading or other reasons, we could still recommend products that are energy efficient which will bring your power bill down dramatically.
What is a smart meter and do I need it?
A smart meter measures total energy use in the house and then reports the number back to the power company. If there is a solar system on the roof and electricity is being generated, then the smart meter can also measure how much energy is flowing in the opposite direction, back into the grid.
If this is the first time you are installing solar panels to your household electricity load (solar hot water does not count), you will most likely require to change to a smart meter. The process is easy, contact your energy retailer and advise them you have solar panels installed on your roof once the installation is complete and they will arrange the meter change. This process takes 7-14 days and they are mostly free of charge, but some retailer does charge a small amount of admin fee. We will help you with the process after the installation is complete if required.
How efficient is your solar panel?
There are four areas of efficiencies solar industry refers to:
Cell Efficiency -This is the efficiency of converting sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic technology in a single cell (PV cell). Panel manufacturers purchase or make these cells and put them together to make the panel.
Module Efficiency - This is the efficiency of the whole panel generally consist of 60-96 cells on most of the solar panels; these range between 15%-22% depending on the brand and model.
STC vs NOCT Efficiency - the ratio between maximum power at Standard Test Condition and maximum power at Normal Operating Cell Temperature. This is the true efficiency you need to concern yourself with when choosing which solar panel to use. STC vs NOCT efficiency gives you the indication of how your solar panel will perform in the real world.
Shading Efficiency - If your installer has the technology to reproduce a 3D model of your surrounding, they will be able to simulate the rate of the shading effect base on different time of the year. Shading will dramatically affect the return on investment of your solar system if not managed correctly.
But efficiency comes with a price. The more innovation and new technique the solar panel manufacturer use to boost up the efficiency, the more expensive they will be. So get the manufacturer's datasheet of the panels from your solar sales, so you understand the solar panel they chose for you if suitable for your situation and budget.
At 100 Powerlink, we only recommend the use of solar panels from Tier 1 manufacturer. We will provide different options of panels that might be suitable to your situation, considering the space on your roof, the direction it's facing, shading from surrounding objects, warranty period required and your budget to help you decide which panel to use.
Are the panel protected againest hail?
Our recommended solar panels are made from tough tempered glass to resist hail and they are tested under Australian standards to withstand a direct strike from hailstones with a diameter of 35mm – about half the size of a golf ball. But when you get larger hailstones they could smash the solar panels. We recommend adding the newly installed Solar PV system onto your home and content insurance.
What is net metering?
Net meters work by continuously sampling how much electricity is generated and how much electricity is consumed at your home. The meter instantaneously reads the generation and consumption of the premises and records both these amounts. Net metering will combine these readings and provide a net reading to see how much electricity you are buying or selling to the grid at any one time.
What is a Tier 1 panel and where can I find the list of company that is Tier 1?
Tier 1 ranking scale is orchestrated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance Corporation and is used to rank solar panel manufacturers in terms of their bank-ability or financial stability.
Here is a link that receives regular updates that list the tier 1 Manufacturers.